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Name: Adam Bernard
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Melissa Giges Breaks The Mold And Bares Her Soul
Thursday, July 17, 2014

When an artist has been playing an instrument since the age of four, one might assume they’ve enjoyed a traditional, well paved career path. Not so for Melissa Giges, who tossed the musical road map she’d been using aside, and opted to create her own route.

The NYC based singer-songwriter-pianist had her musical revelation while attending George Washington University on a presidential arts scholarship for classical voice. “I really wanted to start diving into jazz,” she remembers, “and it was hard to transition over, because there’s a jazz world, and there’s a classical world, and I really wanted to figure out how to do both, and it was difficult for me to do that.”

A friend by the name of Angela Aki, who is now a pop star in Japan, helped show Giges how to walk along the road less traveled. “She used to bring me into the practice rooms, and play me some of her songs,” Giges recalls. “I was just in awe, and she said, ‘You can do it. You can play piano, and you can sing. Just sit down and write whatever comes to mind.’” The sessions with Aki, and the advice, were a turning point for Giges, who says, “That’s when I started writing music.”

Fast-forward to the present, and Giges’ career is in full swing with her having recently released her latest album, Just When I Let Go, for which she is joined by Jonathan Ellinghaus on drums, and Blake Morgan, who’s the album’s producer, on guitar and keyboards.

Just When I Let Go is an emotional effort for Giges, as she notes, “They’re all personal songs, and I do write about relationships in my life, whether it’s a man, or friends, or family.”

When it comes to having her life in her lyrics, although Giges says it’s “a very vulnerable situation,” she adds that she feels, “when you finally get to a place where you’re able to do that, you put our your best art, and you put out your best work.”

With the personal nature of her music, Just When I Let Go features quite a few tales of love, and love lost, and although Giges says, “I will never use anyone’s name,” she does note, “if you date a musician, especially a songwriter, you know that there is a chance that something will be written about you.”


Those somethings that she’s written landed Giges a gig performing at the White House a number of years ago, and have also found their way into another unexpected territory – reality TV.

With placements in multiple Kardashian shows, and MTV’s Real World, Giges has been heard by millions of TV fans. One of her first TV placements, which was on Bad Girls Club, has an especially interesting memory associated with it.

“I had not seen Bad Girls Club before,” she remembers, “it was one of the first TV placements I got, and I did call my parents. I was like, ‘Hey, my song’s gonna be on Bad Girls Club,’ and they were like, ‘Uh, what is this show?’”

Giges laughs when she remembers the scene it was a part of. “I think my song came on when (the girls) were selecting a toy out of a vending machine in their house. I think you can imagine what kind of toy that might be.”

It’s a safe bet it wasn’t a Matchbox car.

Toys of another kind have played an equally fun role in Giges’ work, as anyone who attends her shows knows she has a set of tiny animal mascots with dirty names, like Assey the Ass Horse, and Fucker the Pig. The mascots were inspired by a song titled “Hey Lion” on Giges’ previous release, Evident, and a quick stop into a quirky toy store.

“It was a children’s store, but it was like one of those boutique-y stores,” she explains. “I just went in there, and I saw some figurines, and I bought a few. I thought it would be fun to have them in the studio. A couple of the mascots really stuck out, and we started naming a few.”

Of all the possible mascots, there’s a certain poetry to Giges having tiny farm animals on her piano, as when a someone forges their own path, and walks down the road less traveled, as Giges has, they’re bound to bump into a few barnyard friends.


Interview originally ran on Arena.com.

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